Don’t Kill Cupid!: A Message for Divorcing Moms

Pink hearts, red roses, chocolates galore, February is the month for romance and love. We all love to be in love, but when your heart has been broken this can be a tough and lonely time. Even if romance feels like a distant memory and passion seems like an ancient relic that belongs in a museum, resist the temptation to boycott or ignore Valentine's Day.    ...more

Happy Birthday Dr. King!

Like so many others of my generation, I spent my girlhood living in the shadow of Dr. King’s dream of integration.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed the year before my birth, so I only knew his legacy. ...more


Hi Jennifer,

  Long time, no see.  Been trying to contact you for awhile and couldn't ...more

Book Promotion 101

I headed to New York City a few days ago to meet with the Touchstone publicity folks about the marketing plan for The Black Girl Next Door.  It was a thrilling, overwhelming and confusing meeting. I'm in no position to offer advice, but I want to offer some insights that might encourage authors and aspiring writers. Note:  The following list represents what I have learned but have not yet mastered. 1)  It's never to early to consider marketing and book promotion. ...more

Firoozeh Dumas: A Writer Who Makes Me laugh

In recent days, I have been blessed by the encouragement of two wonderful writers. Today’s post is about Firoozeh Dumas’ wonderful work. When I first heard Firoozeh interviewed about Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America a few years ago, I pulled my car off the road and parked to listen to her.  Like me, Firoozeh was raised in suburban California and felt like an outsider.  I hadn’t yet committed to writing my own story, but remeber feeling so inspired by her humor and her candor. ...more

Honesty and Truth: Can You Tell the Difference

What’s the difference between honesty and truth? Conflicts in some of my closest relationships have made me consider the question. I first learned the value of honesty as a child. In a horrible episode I describe in The Black Girl Next Door, I lied to convince some kids to like me, and it turned into a complete disaster.  When my father found out what I’d done, I saw the hurt and shame on his face for the first time.  My stunt showed me the disfiguring power of deception. ...more

I think your idea of candor with care says it all.  I hadn't thought of it that way.  I'm ...more

The Ambivalent Vacation

Why can’t I take a vacation without taking work with me? This is a question I’ve contemplated seriously since I returned from my most recent week away. When I taught at Yale, I felt an crushing sense of obligation to my work but never much excitement. I packed my laptop, journal articles, and the most recent draft of my manuscript to satisfy the throbbing “should” that ruled my life. Those things weighed down my suitcase in the same way that my relationship to my job weighed down my life. ...more

It's not necessarily a bad thing, to confuse work with life, unless you decide that that is ...more

The "Perfect" Time

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I am a writer. Many times, people confess their own writing dreams. So often, folks(lots of women) tell me that they’ve got a great idea for a novel, or a project they’ve toyed with for a long time. In the next breath, often before I say a word, they sigh and explain why they are deferring their dream. Money, kids, and jobs are the top reasons they offer. Here’s what I’ve learned: Anyone waiting on the perfect time to become a writer should ask themselves the question, “What’s my idea of perfect?” ...more

Susan: I admire your courage and commitment to your writing.  Congratulations on your grant ...more

10 Tips for Writers

Here are 10 things I wish I'd known before I began writing my first book. ...more

All of these are excellent tips and lessons, but #5 seems to bring me down the most. But I'm ...more